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Podlaskie Voivodeship supports the development of Belarusian culture

The legalization of Belarusian businesses, the establishment of the Center for Belarusian Culture in Bialystok, and addressing the issues faced by the Belarusian diaspora in Poland –these were the main topics  discussed during a meeting held on January 15 in Bialystok between Pavel Latushka, the Deputy Head of the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus and Head of the National Anti-Crisis Management, and Artur Kosicki, the Marshal of Podlaskie Voivodeship.

During the meeting, Pavel Latushka expressed gratitude for the decision to open the Center for Belarusian Culture in Bialystok and emphasized the significance of such an organization's activities. The Polish authorities' decision to establish a Belarusian cultural institute in the region was acknowledged as an important step that will contribute to the further development of Belarusian culture in Podlaskie Voivodeship. The voivodeship is home to a historically large population of ethnic Belarusians, which has grown in recent years due to the influx of tens of thousands of Belarusians forced to leave their country.

Pavel Latushka, who served as the Ambassador of Belarus to Poland, initially opened the cultural center in Bialystok as a diplomatic institution in 2008. However, the Lukashenko regime subsequently decided to relocate the center to Warsaw, rendering it practically non-functional.

Currently, the cultural center has been established as a legal entity, and a bank account has been opened. The Marshal of Podlaskie Voivodeship revealed plans to allocate over 340 thousand euros from the voivodeship budget for the center's activities. Anatol Vap, a representative of the Belarusian ethnic minority in Poland, will lead the center.

Pavel Latushka shared information that, according to Polish statistics, there are 731 companies with Belarusian participation in Podlaskie Voivodeship, making it the second-largest region in Poland in this regard. In response to Pavel Latushka's proposal, the Marshal expressed interest in organizing a separate event focused on small businesses in the region to address issues related to business legalization, interactions with banking institutions, and other concerns.

The meeting also addressed the matter of European Union funds that were previously allocated for cross-border cooperation between Belarus and Poland. Due to the actions of the Lukashenko regime, this financial support was halted. The voivodeship has approached the European Commission with a proposal to amend legislation so that the funds can be utilized for the region's needs, particularly for the benefit of the Belarusian ethnic minority and diaspora residing there, as well as to support cultural, economic, social, and community projects. It was agreed that the United Transitional Cabinet would propose supporting this initiative of the local authorities within the framework of the Belarus-EU advisory group.

Education in the Belarusian language and scholarships for prominent figures in Belarusian culture, which could be funded by the Podlaskie Voivodeship, were also discussed during the meeting. The Marshal expressed preliminary consent to allocate funds for these purposes, taking into account the repressive conditions faced by Belarusian cultural figures. Pavel Latushka, along with Alina Koushyk, the representative of the United Transitional Cabinet for National Revival, will continue to advocate for this issue.

Furthermore, it was agreed that the Marshal would consider a proposal to provide internships within the Marshal's Department as part of the "Personnel Reserve for New Belarus" project.


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